Police in northern India’s Himachal Pradesh are investigating at least two cases of people using fake Chinese coronavirus E-passes — one bearing the name of former U.S. President Donald Trump and another of the famous Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan — to enter the region during an ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
“HP [Himachal Pradesh] Police is in receipt of a complaint regarding fake registration in the name of Mr. Donald Trump and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan in the Covid [Chinese coronavirus] e-pass platform,” the Himachal Pradesh State Police Department wrote in a Twitter statement issued May 7.
HP Police is in receipt of a complaint regarding fake registration in the name of Mr. Donald Trump and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan in the Covid e-pass platform. Shimla Police is registering a FIR under relevant sections of IPC and IT Act for further legal action.@CMOHimachal
— Himachal Pradesh Police (@himachalpolice) May 7, 2021
“The passes were under [the] essential service provider category. The one in the name of ‘Donald Trumph’ [sic] called him the son of ‘Mark Jones’ and said he was to visit ‘Parkash Sharma.’ The other said Bachhan, the son of ‘Harbans Rai Bachhan’, was to meet ‘Rajiv Sehjal.’ The passes were valid for May 7 only,” the Times of India reported on May 8.
“Both the passes (‘HP-2563825 and HP-2563287) had the same mobile number and Aadhar Card [Indian national ID] number,” a Himachal Pradesh police spokesperson said.
Police in the Himachal Pradesh capital city of Shimla have registered a first information report (FIR), or initial report for a criminal offense in India, to seek “further legal action” against the creator(s) of the fake E-passes, according to the Himachal Pradesh police department’s May 7 Twitter statement. The FIR is relevant to sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Techonlogy Act, which is India’s primary law concerning cybercrime and electronic commerce.
“An FIR was registered at Shimla East police station on the basis of a complaint lodged by the Department of Information Technology, Himachal Pradesh, wherein it alleged that misinformation was being spread on social media and news channels about the issuance of e-passes on the basis of wrong information by the district administration,” the Himachal Pradesh police spokesperson said, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).
The Himachal Pradesh state government issued an order on April 26 stating that all people who wished to enter the state would be required to register their travel plans through the state government-run “COVID E-pass” so that “the details of their arrival would be shared with all concerned for the purpose of quarantine requirement and contact tracing,” PTI recalled on May 8. The E-pass requirement is part of a new “corona curfew” imposed on Himachal Pradesh by its government in an effort to control the spread of the Chinese coronavirus throughout the region. India’s coronavirus caseload has skyrocketed over the past month.